On April 4 2015, Lebanon had its first ever battle entry in the W:O:A Metal Battle Middle East edition. The venue was Quadrangle in Hazmieh, one of the recently most active Rock/Metal pubs in Lebanon.
The bands to be competing were April, Blaakyum and Turbulence and the judges to decide the winner were Nathalie Jeha, Roy Naufal, Bahij El Khatib, Marc Bassila and Monika Bremer. For more information on the bands and the judges, check our previous event annoucment article >here<.
The event started at around 9 PM with the first performers on stage being the judges themselves who jammed on some rock/metal tracks to warm up our ears. The jury jammed on Holy Diver by Dio and Perfect Stranger by Deep Purple.
First competing band on stage was Turbulence who played around 35 minutes with 3 songs: ” My Darkest Hour”, “Desiquilibrium” and “Richardson’s Nightmare”.
One reason I’m writing this review is to give some feedback to the bands. Without a doubt Turbulence is influenced by Dream Theatre and we all enjoy the technical aspect of the music as well as the intricate arrangements, but what I have not enjoyed in DT’s latest album is the lyrical content and for me Turbulence made that mistake with “My Darkest Hour”, with lines as “Take me away”, “Push you away” that repeat and repeat and don’t bring much to the meaning, not to mention that these words in the orders put have been extensively used in POP/ Rock / Jazz / Reggae /… lyrics. In the second track the band showed a perfect performance with beautiful synchronization, while vocalist Owmar El Hage had the very best performance compared to previous times, a noticeable improvement of vocal control. Third track for me was the most interesting, as it had the parts perfectly fused to take you from a melody to another with some raging riffs.
Turbulence had the best performance with the closing track, but overall it was not a complete perfect performance, and given the kind of bands the battle is seeking, Turbulence is a bit out of the typical W:O:A lineups.
Second competing band on stage was Blaakyum who performed 32 minutes of solo material from their debut album “Lord of the Night”. Without a doubt Blaakyum gathers most experience among all Lebanese Metal bands, with years of live performances and already several international performances. One the Battle night, Blaakyum only had to be perfectly prepared to give the best show, and that is what they did. The crowd were the loudest and wildest every moment of Blaakyum’s performance. Aside their perfect performance, Blaakyum’s music style is exactly what W:O:A looks for from a Middle Eastern band: Blaakyum are the winners of the W.O.A Metal Battle 2015 – Lebanon.
Third and final competing band on stage was April. I have seen April perform many times before and to be honest, I expected them to give a great performance, but due to technical problems with their first tracks, their performance was below average, they lacked the synch but I guess it was explainable. For the rest of the performance, they were great but still had the problem of low guitar sound and relatively high vocal sound in the mix. The last performed track for me was simply amazing, a perfect blend of styles with very tight play, but I could not know the track name and I still do not have their latest EP which I am looking to obtain. I think April didnt have the best “Luck” for the competition and (same as Turbulence) did not have the “required musical style”.
Finally to put musical style on a side, Blaakyum had by far the best performance and the best crowd response, they totally deserved to win. Congratulations Blaakyum.
P.S.: Qantara was to play at the end of the event and they did, unfortunately I was not able to be there till the end of the event. I have to appologize from the band and I hope to see them performing another time. Here’s a video of Qantara.